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Fall 2002 - Shape lives

Destination Purdue > Fall 2002 - Shape lives

Purdue students help shape children's lives

By Andrea Campbell

Students in Purdue University's urban service learning class are helping shape inner city kids' lives by teaching them valuable lessons. The service learning projects have been developed with the help of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Indianapolis and the Purdue Krannert School of Management. The projects have been designed so that college students could gain experience in an alternative type of classroom and teach younger students important life skills.

Each week students from Purdue travel to Indianapolis and meet with inner city students after school. Through interactive lesson plans, the college students offer information regarding their major and act as mentors and tutors for the children.

Pam Morris has been awarded the National Diversity Award for her significant impact on many Indiana communities through her work in multicultural education, international programs and service learning.

"We try to teach the children through fun activities so that everyone is involved," said Pam Morris, Purdue Extension specialist and associate professor of youth and 4-H development and instructor of the urban service learning classes. "Each student has a different reason for taking the urban service learning class, but in the end, it is related to their major." "I took the class because I like working with kids," said Justin Toby, psychology major. "We can combine learning and fun all at the same time."

The college students also work with the children on a community service project. This year, they are targeting homeless teens that live in the Indianapolis area along the banks of the White River. The children would like to plan a cookout or some event where the homeless can get a decent meal. And, they would like to give them a survival kit which consists of a book bag filled with toiletries and other necessary items.

"This plan is a work in progress, but it should be a huge success," Morris said.